Port wine in the varnish

Miguel and Filipa Mateus

Miguel and Filipa Mateus Photo: Facebook / Oficina dos Violinos

Miguel and Filipa Mateus, are violin makers and opened their workshop over two decades ago. It has already become known throughout the country and beyond, largely thanks to social media and word of mouth.

Filipa’s great-great-grandfather, Agostinho Pereira, was a violin maker at the old Casa Duarte in Sé. “We are children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of people from Ribeira, Sé and Miragaia,” said Miguel. His great-great-grandfather was part of the Royal Guard and played the cello.

Self-taught, he learnt the art of repairing stringed instruments on his own, especially violins. He met Filipa and it was only a matter of time before he opened his workshop. Today, he regrets not having started sooner. “This is where the best sound in Porto is born,” he says.

There are no imitations at Oficina dos Violinos. There’s always classical music in the air. It’s an enchanted world with bows, strings and horsehair and there is space for socialising and experimenting with musical instruments. There’s also the workshop where Miguel and Filipa build and restore violins.

“The violins we sell are high-end and all made by me,” said Miguel. They take an average of two or three months to build and can cost anything up to €5,000.

“We’re the only violin makers to put drops of Port wine in the varnish,” reveals the craftsman, confessing that the musicians who play with his “Mateus” are unanimous in saying that “they’re sweet instruments”.

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Written by

Kevin Fraser Park

Kevin was born in Scotland and worked in marketing, running his own businesses in UK, Italy and, for the last 8 years, here in Spain. He moved to the Costa del Sol in 2016 working initially in real estate. He has a passion for literature and particularly the English language which is how he got into writing.